Children Left Unattended in Vehicles

Making safety a part of your daily routine can be the difference between life and death for a child in your care. Fifteen children in the United States have already died in 2012 due to heat strokes after being left unattended in vehicles. Leaving a child inside a vehicle with the windows rolled up - even a few minutes – can have deadly consequences.

A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that in just one hour, vehicle temperatures can reach up to 117 degrees Fahrenheit even though it is only 72 degrees outside. That same study reported that cars with cracked windows can still result in temperatures rising 19 degrees in just 10 minutes.

A reminder to child care providers:
Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Section 102417(k) (2) for Family Child Care Homes, prohibits children from being left in parked cars.
Make it part of your everyday routine to account for all children in your care.
  • Always make a habit of looking in the vehicle, front and back, before locking the door and walking away.
  • Do things to serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle. Writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat.

Visit the (DMV) website to view the Prohibition Against Unattended Child in Vehicle Act (also known as "Kaitlyn's Law") incorporated into the California Vehicle Code (Division 6.7). This law makes it an infraction punishable by a fine of $100.00 for a parent, guardian or other person responsible for a child 6 years of age or younger, to leave the child in their care in a motor vehicle without supervision.

Eco Healthy Child Care: Pesticides

Don't Bug Me

A pesticide is anything used inside or outside to prevent, control, repel, or kill insects, plants and other pests. The main concern is children’s exposure to pesticides that contain harmful chemicals. Many chemical pesticides can spread through the air when they are sprayed, and then seep into the soil and water.
It's important that child care centers and homes are free of chemical pesticides.  Even low levels of some pesticide exposure are a threat to young developing bodies. Many pesticides take a very long time to break down. They persist indoors for weeks on furniture, toys and other surfaces and can persist for years on household dust. Research indicates that levels of pesticides in indoor air are often ten times higher than those measured in outdoor air.
Usually there are non-chemical solutions that work just as well as pesticides:
• Clean up food and drink spills immediately (Pests need food to survive)
• Fix water leaks (pests need water to survive)
• Seal cracks and holes (insect entrances)
• Use environmentally friendly strategies to deter pests
• Keep trash in a closed container and remove frequently
• Maintain healthy soil to deter weeds and eliminate habitats favorable to pests (remove standing water)
For more info visit:

Keys To A Great Book Center

Quality Reading

Ever look at your selection of books and wonder whether you have a quality book center available to the children? You may have a huge assortment of books but you may find that it’s not balanced or you may not be providing enough of some types of books. You may wonder whether your selection is enough or well equipped. We have some simple tips based on the Family Child Care Environmental Rating Scale (FCCERS-R) to help you determine whether or not your reading area meets the standards for quality.
You should have a minimum of twelve appropriate books for each child’s age range in your child care program (infants, toddlers, preschool and school-age) or at least a minimum of two books per child if you have more than 7 children in any age group. These books should be easily accessible to the children, as in they must be able to get to them without any help. 
 Infant books can be put in baskets on the floor, on low shelves where they can reach them or can be placed near enough to them that they can reach them.  Non-mobile infants can have fabric, vinyl and/or board books placed within reach.  
Toddlers and older children should easily be able to reach their books but their books should be out of reach of infants to prevent the books from being mouthed and becoming torn or damaged which can create a safety issue for your infants.  You can also simply supervise your mobile infants very well and keep them away from the books with paper pages. 
All books should be in reasonably good repair with no torn or missing covers or pages, no scribbles and not chewed on.  You can teach the children about taking care of the books, the proper way to use the books and explain what happens when the books are mistreated ... they get damaged and we can't read them anymore!  Doing this each time you welcome a new child and reminding the children about how to care for the books every few months will make it routine and eventually even the toddlers will pick up on it and you'll be able to do less supervision in the book area.
Your selection should have 3-5 examples from each category available:
  • Fantasy (fiction)
  • Non-Fiction (factual books with realistic pictures about animals, plants, real life experiences, familiar objects, routines etc.)
  • People (different races, ages, gender)
  • Realistic books about animals and their homes with realistic pictures
  • Books about science (five senses, human body, nature etc.)
  • Multicultural books (historical/contemporary people of different races/cultures, books in other languages etc.)
  • Different abilities (eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheelchair, crutches etc.).
Keep in mind that this does not mean that you have to have 3-5 books from each category, only that there should be 3-5 examples of each in your library.  One book could include several categories. 
For example: "Be Quiet Marina!" (one of my favorites, and not just because it includes my name in the title) is a book about two  real children, each with a different special need, and how they worked through their differences to create a great friendship.  This book is non-fiction, is about young girl children (people) and shows children with different abilities (one girl has down syndrome and the other has cerebral palsy).  You just provided 1 example of 3 categories with one book.
You should also have extra books which you can use to rotate your library so that the children do not become disinterested in your book center. Your book center should be inviting and away from high traffic areas and other active centers. Add comfortable child size furniture or pillows and cushions so that the children can relax and rest peacefully. Give your book center a special name to help the children identify the center. “The Library”, “Reading Center”, “Quiet Center” or “Book Nook” all give the center a name which describes the purpose of the center. Once you have followed these simple tips you can be assured that your book center meets the standards of quality.
*Infants: 0-12 months, Toddlers: 12-30 months, Preschool 30 months to Kindergarten, School-age: 1st grade and older.